The sky outside our windows on Thursday had an eerie, yellow-orange tone, and rain fell throughout the day.  It was the kind of day Fr. Tom Zelinski might call “contemplative”.

Rather than taking the time to contemplate, though, everyone here at St. Anthony’s had things to do and places to be: Tracy traveled to school; Jackie K. tackled the myriad of issues to come to the director’s desk in any given day; Kim and her kitchen volunteers prepped food that will be needed for the weekend group; Jackie H. and Danny made many trips up and down two flights of stairs to stock firewood in the Fireplace Lounge; Bob worked on his rainy-day indoor to-do list; Marge worked on the weekly e-mail; Cecilia and Sr. Barb had their own communication and programming projects to fill their day.

Despite the seemingly insignificant nature of the tasks that kept all of us busy, there was good reason for contemplation, and that was the eerie, yellow-orange sky outside our windows.  The color was caused by a combination of clouds, sun and smoke from wildfires in California.  Something that was happening thousands of miles away made a difference here in Marathon, Wisconsin.

That is worth pondering, not because it only happened today, but because it happens every day and we normally do not have the visual reminder to make us aware of that reality.  That is worth pondering because it also means something we do here in Marathon might make a difference on the East Coast, or as far away as Europe or Africa or even beyond.  How amazing would it be if that something could make a positive difference in the world or in the lives of brothers and sisters we may never meet?

Tomorrow, October 24th, is the “official” Make a Difference Day, but today’s eerie sky tells us what we do makes a difference every day and everywhere.  Some of our routine tasks have an obvious impact on others: our preparations help us welcome future guests; our sponsored programs and various communications connect us with friends far and wide; our routine duties keep our house clean, safe and welcoming for all.  There are other actions that we hope make at least some small impact on the global community: composting our kitchen waste, recycling our paper and cardboard waste, reducing our use of plastics, generating solar energy and using energy efficient light bulbs.  The impact of those also seemingly-insignificant efforts are less visible, but no less real and we hope no less beneficial.

For the opportunity and ability to make a difference, to have a positive impact on the lives of our brothers and sisters, near or far, known or unknown, we say Deo Gratias!